This is it, the last episode of Free! – Dive to the Future -. It’s been a long ride and we are finally at the finish line! Twelve episodes of ups and downs, wins and losses… I’ve grown to love these characters, and it’s a little sad to have to say goodbye to them so soon… *sniffle* So, let’s dive in to the last episode of Season 3, Episode 12 ‘Dive to the Future’!
The first day of the All Japan Invitational is finally here and all the Free! boys have made their way to Tokyo. Some, like Haru, Ikuya, Asahi, and Rin will face off against tough opponents, while Makoto, Rei, Nagisa, and the rest of the rabble will cheer them on from the stands.
No Opening: To utilize all of that 23 min. run-time, this week’s episode did not feature an opening. Instead, we jump right into the action with a rather tranquil opening scene with Haru and his first love: water.
Haru’s Moment: The first minute and a half of the episode is silent, save for a beautiful instrumental track. The scene opens with Haru diving into a pool for a swim, punctuated with flashbacks to important water-related moments in his life. At the end of the flashback montage, Haru seemingly comes to a conclusion, which I assume was something along the lines of *clears throat* ‘I swim because I love water’ or something like that.
You Win Some, You Lose Some: The first day of the All Japan Invitational, the main event of Season 3. Everyone has been preparing for this moment and as Haru, Makoto, Rin, Asahi, and Ikuya all gear up for their individual races, we know that some will wind up on top, while others will have to try their luck next year.
Three Dudes Watching the Sunset: A really sweet moment between Haru, Makoto, and Rin after the first day of the All Japan Invitational. The trio decide to unwind by the ocean sharing some nostalgic moments from the past while also contemplating their futures… and then Haru does what Haru normally does and runs straight for the water!
Ending Theme: The ending theme for this week’s episode ‘Blue Destination’ is sung by the VAs from the series *inhales* Haruka Nanase (CV. Nobunaga Shimazaki), Makoto Tachibana (CV. Tatsuo Suzuki), Rin Matsuoka (CV. Mamoru Miyano), Asahi Shiina (CV. Toshiyuki Toyonaga), Ikuya Kirishima CV. Uchiyama Kohki), Hazuki Nagisa (CV. Kenema Tsubasa), Ryugasaki Rei (CV. Hirakawa Daisuke).
Themes & Trivia
Swim Crawl/Front Crawl: Regarded as one of the fastest of the four front swimming strokes, the technique is typically used in freestyle competitions. Rei and Nagisa are surprised to hear that Haru was able to perform the technique without any prior training (I don’t know why, he’s a total swim nut…).
2020…. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME! Two whole years?! But, then again I’m still waiting for an announcement for season 4 of Haikyuu….
We’ve come a long way since Episode 1. I started out hating Free! and everything it stood for and now, I’m big enough to admit that I’ve grown to love these swim dorks. This was such a satisfying and emotionally driven episode and I think (don’t quote me on this), episode 12 is the episode with the least amount of actual dialogue. We’ve finally done away with all the petty arguments and drama and we’re getting down to the meat of what Free! is supposed to be about: the swimming.
There was some phenomenal swimming in Episode 12, special mentions to the race between Natsuya and Ikuya! I love both characters so much I didn’t know who I wanted to win, but I was so satisfied with the way things turned out because both of them gave it their all! I wasn’t really invested in Asahi’s race, since he was pretty much relegated to comic relief for most of the season, but… BUT… BUUUUT, Haru’s 100M Freestyle… WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?! I mean come on; he has been swimming for his own sake for so long, only to succumb to the pressures of competition at the last minute… I’m calling BULLSHIT! He could have won, hell, SHOULD HAVE WON. But, no, they needed a season 4, so rather than wrapping everything up in a neat little bow, they focused on unnecessary drama for 95% of the season and then crammed the actual important stuff into the last two-and-a-half episodes…
See You in 2020?!
Episode 12 was everything I could hope for and more, one big giant preamble for Season 4 of Free! In fact, all of Season 3 was just one big long setup for Season 4 and I am not amused. Episode 12 finally delivered on everything I wanted from the series since I sat down for Episode 1 and they literally waited until the last minute to do it… -_- That aside, I am pumped for season 4, pity I have to wait, TWO years for it…
That’s it for Free! Dive to the Future, but be sure to check out MANGA.TOKYO’s other amazing Summer 2018 reviews!!
Free! – Dive to the Future-
Summer 2018 | Anime Info | Season 1 Review